A sex diet for the sex-starved
April 14th, 2011
12:27 PM ET

A sex diet for the sex-starved

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

Are you one the 40 million Americans feeling sex-starved? If so, what are you feeding your sex life? The same old routine, perhaps, just less of it? Or maybe nothing at all? Or perhaps you’re subsisting on porn or other forms of sexual junk food and empty calories? Are you getting your Recommended Daily Allowance of healthy sex? And if daily is pushing it (as it would be in my case), how about at least weekly?

Not long ago I wrote an article for this blog imploring couples to try to have sex a minimum of once a week. My reason? When couples stop having sex their relationships become vulnerable—to anger, detachment, infidelity and, even, divorce. I believe that sex matters: It’s the glue that keeps us together and, without it, couples become “good friends” at best or “bickering roommates” at worst. When you’re stuck in a sex rut, your testosterone levels lower, and you get used to not doing it.  Having sex once a week helps to keep you tuned in and turned on, instead of tuned out and turned-off.

But it’s not enough to just do it once a week, especially if there’s little to no variety in your sexual meal plan. Sex is like food – if you eat the same thing over and over, not only will you get bored; you’ll also end up depriving yourself of vital nutrients. And just like the food pyramid, there are different categories of sex that you should be consuming from regularly:

– There’s sex that’s loving and tender and enhances emotional intimacy (think love-making)

– And there’s sex for the sake of sex: because it feels good and relieves stress (think spontaneous quickie)

– There’s sex that taps the power of imagination and proves that the mind is the biggest sex organ  (think sharing a fantasy)

– And there’s sex that plays to all of our various senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste

In my recent book, 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex, I try to offer up a “sex diet” based on weekly consumption from one of these different groups. For example, in the lovemaking category you can warm up with a hot steamy shower together that includes candlelight and lots of soap and in bed with some passionate eye-gazing. Most people close their eyes a lot during sex, so instead maintain eye contact. Force yourself to be completely present in the moment, even if it feels uncomfortable. Keep those eyes locked. Remaining connected at the highest heights of pleasure will send your intimacy levels through the roof.

In terms of category 2, sex for the sake of sex, mix it up. Don’t settle for same time, same place. According to stats, 92% of Americans have sex in their bedroom, so try a different room. And remember a quickie doesn’t need to lead to climax; it could be a way of building anticipation throughout the day.

Category 3 – fantasy – is one of my favorites. The brain is the biggest sex organ, but too many of us rely on physical pathways to pleasure instead of mental ones. In my professional experience, the couples with the most satisfying sex lives are the ones who are willing to share fantasies without judgment and share in the exploration of the taboo – even if it’s just talking about it.

Category 4 – a sensory potpourri – is the category that keeps on giving. Whether it’s taste, touch, smell, sight, or sound, there are endless combinations of pleasures that stimulate the senses. From the art of erotic massage, to aromatherapy, to pulling out the sexy lingerie, to a playlist of music that transports you to another time to toys and flavored intimacy enhancers, a sexual exploration of the senses reminds us how often we don’t engage them.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re in a long-term relationship. And as you take the next step with your partner — and the next, and the next — new and greater responsibilities pile on (house, baby, etc.) and, gradually, sex ends up at the bottom of your list of priorities. Suddenly, and without warning, you realize that you haven’t had sex in weeks, or maybe even months! But with a healthy diet of sex, taken from all four of the sex groups, it’s easy to once again enjoy the pleasures of a home-cooked (make that a bed-cooked) meal.

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Valerie

    Would you like fries with that?

    April 14, 2011 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. carol

    Oh, come on.. tell me something that makes a difference! Try living on starvation rations because following a couple of surgeries it just plain HURTS! Ten years plus.. I don't even bother counting any longer. I don't even bother dating, because I put in my time tolerating the pain (and essentially no pleasure) to keep my mates happy. It just isn't worth it.

    April 14, 2011 at 14:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      What on earth are your doctors doing for you?

      April 14, 2011 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
  3. Stefan

    The whole article assumes that you HAVE a partner!

    April 14, 2011 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • D

      Agreed-kind of annoying. Also, my idea of "starving" is different and depends on whether I have a partner or not. With a partner, once a week is not enough. Without, I could go once a week or less easily.

      April 14, 2011 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • Loren

      I was just thinking that...

      April 14, 2011 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
    • idnar


      April 14, 2011 at 19:25 | Report abuse |
    • Boater39


      April 14, 2011 at 23:46 | Report abuse |
    • Boater39

      D-some of us might even "accidentally" get it more like once or twice A YEAR when we aren't in a relationship.

      April 14, 2011 at 23:48 | Report abuse |
    • NobodySpecial

      You read my mind.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • Bad Patient

      agree. even if we are married...doesn't mean anything. might just mean you are stuck. or will eventually lose whatever morals you once had.

      May 3, 2011 at 18:11 | Report abuse |
    • Bad Patient

      you might not actually lose your morals...if they really are strong. but it pushs you. i still think of princess diana...really people probably shouldn't stay in relationships that don't work out. it's a huge moral struggle though...no question. not fun.

      May 3, 2011 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
  4. Heann

    "And remember a quickie doesn’t need to lead to climax"
    written by a woman obviously – busting a nut is a serious requirement, thanks

    April 14, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dude

      This man speaks the truth.

      April 14, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
    • look again

      the author is male.

      April 14, 2011 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
    • ANC1228

      How about he can rephrase as in my experience quickies will end in climax for dudes but not for the ladies.

      April 14, 2011 at 18:35 | Report abuse |

      Truer words have never been spoken.

      April 14, 2011 at 22:48 | Report abuse |
    • Alijah

      The author may be 'male' but he is not a man if he truly believes such nonsense. I'm with yah dude

      April 14, 2011 at 23:00 | Report abuse |
    • Nic

      A quickie doesn't need to lead to climax? –um wait just a minute there Ian... Do you know how uncomfortable it is for a woman to get all reved up and not get satisfied? Come on guys. Give up a break and hold out until we catch up.

      April 14, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse |
    • Scavio

      Dude this comment made my night at work LMAO!!!

      April 15, 2011 at 03:59 | Report abuse |
    • El Kababa

      Any man should ring the doorbell a couple of times before he goes in. Even for a quickie.

      April 15, 2011 at 07:50 | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      You're a gentleman, El Kababa 🙂

      April 15, 2011 at 12:38 | Report abuse |
  5. Robin

    some begets more!

    April 14, 2011 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mok

    Ok, i just dont get the nose piercing with the stud on the side of the nose. It looks kind of hot I guess, but what is the over fascination with it? Not that I would mind seeing the broad in the top of this article with her eyes crossed while getting off but it still seems odd.

    April 14, 2011 at 15:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • James

      Nose, lip and eyebrow piercings are the current fad, just like bellybutton rings were about 10 years ago. I don't get it personally, I think it looks dumb to poke holes in one's body and stick bits of metal in them but whatever, to each their own.

      April 14, 2011 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • SilentBoy741

      The pierced nose thing always looks like she's got a chrome-plated booger stuck to her face. I always instinctively want to reach out and flick it away. That can't be the reaction they're going for...

      April 15, 2011 at 06:36 | Report abuse |
  7. Huh?

    Crazy much?

    April 14, 2011 at 15:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. cremulous

    my wife is fat

    April 14, 2011 at 16:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IHearYa

      I hear ya!

      April 15, 2011 at 11:30 | Report abuse |
    • Pat


      April 15, 2011 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Metoo

      Yep. My wife knows my ED is health related. What she doesn't know is the health problem isn't my blood pressure, it's her obesity.

      April 15, 2011 at 15:07 | Report abuse |
  9. Susan

    Lol you, sir, are awesome.

    April 14, 2011 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. _________________

    ladies: tattoos are ugly...and so is...um...'irritation' caused by shaving...be happy with what nature gave you or GTFO

    April 14, 2011 at 18:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Hairless

      So, you like whacking your way through the Amazon?

      April 15, 2011 at 09:58 | Report abuse |
    • _____________________

      yes, i do...

      do you like putting antibiotic ointment all over your spotty, chaffed, irritated stubble that looks like the side of barney rubble's face after it's been hit by a cheese grater?

      April 15, 2011 at 10:17 | Report abuse |
    • Hairless

      Seeing as I'm a guy, I don't have a pu**y to shave! LOL! That's why they invented laser hair removal which the wife went for.
      I floss in the morning...don't need to do it again at night!

      April 15, 2011 at 10:38 | Report abuse |
    • ew

      No one likes to weed eat!

      April 15, 2011 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • N

      Yeah, laser hair removal, we all totally have enough cash to blow on getting our lady parts lasered.

      May 13, 2011 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
  11. she's looking up and admiring my manhood

    but her nose looks like the kind that you can buy at a novelty store...you know...the ones that are attached to the goofy-looking glasses.

    April 14, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • IHearYa

      OK, that one make me do the snorting type of laughter.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:32 | Report abuse |
  12. Dtrain

    enough about her nose, how bout pics of her feet plz

    April 14, 2011 at 19:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • idk about you

      you feet people are strange

      April 14, 2011 at 20:25 | Report abuse |
    • On my face

      I second the call for feet...small feet...with nice arches...in stockings.

      April 14, 2011 at 21:00 | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      and shoes with straps around the ankle. I LOVE THE STRAPS, BABE!

      April 15, 2011 at 05:07 | Report abuse |
    • oh yes baby

      ...and don't forget to wear the s lutty ankle bracelet and yell really loud as you are cu mming and curling your toes

      April 15, 2011 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
  13. Coinneach

    Kinda tough to have a "normal" diet when you can't obtain food, innit?

    April 14, 2011 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. frank

    The picture looks like Dr Sanjay Gupta after a transgender procedure.

    April 14, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply


    April 14, 2011 at 22:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. neardying

    Once a week is starving? I must be near death with my once a month "meal".

    April 14, 2011 at 23:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. cdjdjl

    you have to have a wife that WANTS to do it

    April 14, 2011 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. DF

    Dammnit, you nearly made me spit coffee all over my laptop! That was hilarious!

    April 15, 2011 at 05:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. ugh

    What about twice a year? Seriously, this article merely assumes that out of those 40 million, most have partners to turn to. I know of so many people like me who aren't nearly celibate by choice. It makes me feel like this author is just oblivious.

    April 15, 2011 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john

      no need to be celibate...all u need is vi agr a, a con dom, and an esc ort from bac kpage (dot) com.

      it's not love, but love is what you give to friends...s ex is what you give to wh 0res

      April 15, 2011 at 10:26 | Report abuse |
  20. SilentBoy741

    But with Snooki, you've already exceeded your maximum gross tonnage right there.

    April 15, 2011 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Cybersport

    ugh, you hit it right. I'd like to see #s of the normal, healthy guys who are celibate not by choice, but because they can't find a partner.... For those of us that are a little older, it's a difficult existence......emotionally as well as phyically

    April 15, 2011 at 06:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john

      stop being a defeatist...america is not the only country with women...you ever think about that? in russian, there are 10 million more women than men. do the math, buy a plane ticket and get back to us later.

      April 15, 2011 at 10:30 | Report abuse |
    • That's whats up

      I'm banging right through the golden years boss. I will find someone, somewhere to love....guarentee that. That might be my wiife or it might be someone else's wife. Just saying. Facts are facts. No way I'm gonna sit around and do nothing about it or give up without a helluva fight. As long as it keeps showing up, Ima keep using it.

      Thats nature, not me being dirty. If a person can't be who they are, that's terrible. I agree with the other guy, hop on a plane with a bottle of viagra, a case of condoms and a 8 ball. You'll be ready to work out the kinks for a few days straight.

      April 15, 2011 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
  22. Brian

    And there is the Vulcan diet, once every seven years.

    April 15, 2011 at 08:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. William

    If that chick in the photo took that gross thing out of her nose she could get some from me.

    April 15, 2011 at 09:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Pat

    Hope you made her wash the 10 to 20 other DNA profiles off her face before...

    April 15, 2011 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. MrsFizzy

    Or husband.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MrsFizzy

      (in reply to cdjdjl). Yes I know what that means ...that he has a mental-age of 15 & would rather ...ya know.

      April 15, 2011 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
  26. B lo me

    @hairless: i agree with u p***y tastes better bald

    April 15, 2011 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • That's whats up

      what are you 12?

      April 15, 2011 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
  27. That's whats up

    hey ladies...if you think giving up the good once a month works – > wrong.

    hey fellas....buy her some flowers and kiss her like you love her

    hey fat people...get off the jelly dougnuts and you might feel better about yourself

    hey freaks....call me!

    April 15, 2011 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Hank

    Men's Health Magazine said men will lose up to 2" due to muscle atrophy without regularly working out the love muscle and recommends self-love to make up the difference between what you want and what you get... the tongue also being a muscle, ladies, now we know why Gene Simmons' tongue is so long!

    April 15, 2011 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Yikes

    These kinds of articles are written for the pretty and the wealthy – people who can actually find good partners these days. It's getting harder and harder for average people to find decent mates when nearly everyone is craving the super gorgeous people they see on tv and in the movies.

    April 17, 2011 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Elaine

      What??! LOL I'm not a super beautiful gal and I'm not by any means wealthy. Me and my husband both work and this article is super helpful.

      If you're not able to find anyone is because of that mindset you have. It perfectly explains it.

      April 20, 2011 at 00:40 | Report abuse |
    • *sigh*

      Getting laid is not hard if you set your standards according to what you deserve. If in the looks, personality and wealth department you rate a 3, look for up to a 3. If you rate a 7, look for up to a 7. If you rate a 3 and look for a 7, that's not going to work well and your only partner will be your hands.

      April 28, 2011 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  30. hms

    I think he's right.

    April 23, 2011 at 09:45 | Report abuse | Reply
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    May 11, 2011 at 21:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Sara, diät zum abnehmen

    I've been surfing on-line more than three hours today, yet I by no means found any fascinating article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made excellent content as you probably did, the web shall be a lot more helpful than ever before.

    September 5, 2012 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. don

    So what you're saying is; "Don't get enough? Have it weekly! And make it different every time!"

    as though it were that easy...

    August 24, 2013 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
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    January 2, 2021 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply

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